Debate ‘Patient as the focus of the attention – new era in healthcare?’

On 5th September 2016, in the Foksal Press Center in Warsaw took place a debate titled ‘Patient as the focus of the attention – new era in healthcare?’ addressing such issues as equalizing of access to healthcare and improving the accessibility of modern therapies. In the debate organized by the weekly journal ‘Gazeta Polska’ with such participants as Prof. Henryk Skarżyński, MD, PhD, dr h.c. (mult) panelists have been discussing the challenges of the new law regulating the drug refund scheme.

According to the Deputy Minister, an amendment of the Act on Refunded Drugs should be discussed in the Diet already in November this year, which means that the law could come into force in the beginning of 2017. Following the experts’ estimates, in Poland there are about 19 thousand patients with so-called rare diseases, which makes 5 in 10 thousand cases. Ultra rare diseases have incidence of 1 in 50-100 thousand, which in Poland means about 380-760 people.

Presently the so-called orphan drugs, used for treatment of rare diseases, must compete on the same rules with drugs used in commonly occurring diseases. The only criterion of production and refunding such drugs is economic feasibility, which hampers decision-making and effective treatment.

Prof. Henryk Skarżyński has pointed out that the drug refund scheme, if it is to be of help to people who earlier had been forced to finance their treatment from own funds, should account also other aspects of patient care, such as rehabilitation.

We must develop some standards that will give an important role to rehabilitation, which is to the long-term patient management that would enable full recuperation. Rare diseases are not only drugs – persuaded Prof. Skarżyński.

In the course of discussion Prof. Skarżyński has addressed also the topic of division of competences in healthcare, saying that for the good of patients it is necessary to regulate the relations between different medical specialties.

Today it is not clear who has chief competences and whose are subsidiary. If we cannot differentiate it, patient will generate very large costs in many centers, many specialties, before adequate management even starts – said Prof. Skarżyński. He had highlighted also that improved functioning of the healthcare system means large economies for the budget.

In the Debate organized by ‘Gazeta Polska’ had participated also Marek Tombarkiewicz, Deputy Minister of Health; Andrzej Sośnierz, vice chairman of the Parliamentary Commission of Health; Marcin Roszkowski, president of the Jagiellonian Institute and Dr. Jakub Gierczyński, MD, PhD from the National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene. Also present were the representatives of employers associated in the National Chamber of Commerce and Employers of Poland.